The 10 Most Common Chime Scams You Should Be Aware Of

chime scams

Chime has been a lot in the headlines in the last couple of years, and not for good reasons. The fintech company has seen its account numbers soar during the pandemic. Everyday folks wanted to take advantage of their no-fee bank account. And cybercriminals like scammers and hackers took notice.

Here are some of the most popular Chime scams that are just not going away because they clearly work on plenty of people. 

>> Read our full Chime review

1. Fake Chime support websites

Scammers are opening fake Chime support websites because they know that you will try to contact customer support sooner or later. Fake websites go hand in hand with phishing emails, texts, and calls as they direct you via a link to one of their websites that might or might not look similar to the original Chime site. 

If you do land on a supposed Chime website, always check the URL to make sure it’s legit and never share your login details there if you aren’t sure it’s legit. 

2. Fake Chime social media profiles

Not only do cyber criminals make fake Chime websites but they also make hundreds of fake social media accounts to try and trick you to give them either some money or your login credentials and account numbers. 

Chime’s social media profiles all have a blue checkmark which means they are verified accounts. You can also access them from the Chime homepage to be certain you land in the right place. 

3. Chime support phone calls

So many scammers are using robocalls these days that most people don’t even pick up their phones to answer a call anymore. And, I’m certainly one of them. If I don’t see a number or name that I recognize, I’m not picking it up as 9 times out of 10 it’s either a robocall or a scamming robocall, or a real person trying to scam me. 

If someone is claiming they’re affiliated with Chime and they need to verify your account for whatever reason, DON’T give them any details and simply hang up the line. Chime will never call you to ask for your personal information.

Instead, if you are worried, call the number on the back of the Chime card to talk to a Chime rep.

4. Fake emails, messages, DMs

I get these almost on a daily basis. Sometimes they look fake as hell, other times they even put a little more effort to make them look legit. They can even come from the same number that your bank has, which is just incredible. 

The advice is the same; don’t share your details or click on links inside the messages, no matter how legit the message looks.   

5. #moneyflip, #cashflip, #cashout, #fastcash…

If you’re on social media, any social media, it’s hard to escape these. Especially if you’re following a verified bank or other financial company or institution. It baffles me how algorithms can’t crack these posts, accounts, or DMs and stop them from even showing up.

If you’re not familiar, the money flip, or cash flip scam is targeting people by claiming they can 10x your money. All you need to do is send them some cash and they’ll give it back to you plus a whole lot more. For example, if you send them $200, they will give you back $2,000+ in a week.

I understand that times are hard and money, or lack thereof, can be a source of major stress. But there’s really no excuse for falling for this kind of scam. 

6. Unsolicited Chime debit card

If you got an unexpected and unsolicited Chime debit or credit card in your mail, with or without your name on it, it might mean that someone opened a Chime account in your name or that it’s a fake card and they want to get your personal information when you call the ‘customer service’ number on the back of the fake card.

The scammers could use the account that they opened in your name as a pass-through account for other scam victims to send money to and transfer the money out of ‘your’ Chime account in a matter of seconds if they have notifications enabled. 

But the question is, how can scammers simply open an account in your name? Well, since the Equifax data breach in 2017, half of US adults had their information stolen and shockingly exposed, including their SSNs, names, addresses, etc. 

So, what should you do if you get this unwanted card in your mailbox? Don’t just throw it away. Get in touch with the real Chime customer service and even the authorities and get the account closed ASAP.

If you don’t do this, not only could the criminals open additional accounts, but they could ruin your credit score and potentially cost you money.

7. Romance scam

These kinds of scams are at an all-time high and rising. In 2020 alone, a record $304 million in losses were reported to the FTC. that’s around 50% more than the year before. And I expect it to be even higher in 2021. 

So, what is a so-called romance scam? It starts out with a fake social media or dating app profile, of course. The scammers are oftentimes representing a military member that’s on duty overseas, but it could also be an oil rig worker, engineer, doctor, or similar.

There’s a shocking number of scenarios that these people play out on their victims and you can see hundreds of comments from everyday people on the FTC website that paint a gruesome picture.

The scammers are real sweet talkers and can get vulnerable people to fall head over heels for them and typically don’t start asking for cash or gifts until at least a week or more had passed and you have exchanged hundreds of messages. 

What do they ask money for? They usually need cash urgently for surgery, to pay a fine, for a plane ticket to visit you, pay off gambling or other debts, gift cards, etc. If you pay them once, the requests are neverending and often much higher. 

Although it’s often very difficult to recognize a scam once you’re knee-deep into it, try to slow down and ask someone you hold dear in real life for an opinion. Other times, a simple Google search can open your eyes and reveal that the emperor is naked.  

8. Craigslist scams

Where do I even start with this one? If you’ve ever tried selling or buying something on this popular platform, you’ve probably been targeted by a scammer. It happened the other day to me as well as I was trying to sell a few unwanted things from my apartment. 

The scammer will send you a message if the item is still available and if you would ship it. I did ship stuff to people before on numerous occasions with no issues. 

What raised the flag in this instance was that the story was off just a little bit and they asked for too much information from my side, the information that was supposedly needed for the shipping company. 

A simple Google search revealed that this was a popular scam. They were either after my personal details like name, address, and such, or they would send me a receipt saying that the money was deposited in my account and that it’s okay to send the item. 

This goes to show that even if you’re on the selling side of things, there’s no relaxing. However, the scams are more prevalent if you’re buying a product or service, or renting an apartment, for instance.

If possible, you shouldn’t pay for something upfront, as there’s a significant chance that the seller won’t send the thing or perform a service after receiving your payment. The same goes for deposits or partial payments. It’s easy money for them as you oftentimes aren’t protected by Chime, Venmo, Cash App, and other similar apps in case of fraud.

If the seller agreed to send you the purchase upfront, make sure you have it in your hands before you send them the money. The thing is, they’ll often tell you that the item was sent out and that it’s safe for you to transfer them money. 

They might go as far as to Photoshop a delivery service or post office receipt to prove their point. There’s a chance you’d also get an empty package or, the ultimate insult, a brick. Better safe than sorry.

9. Refund and recovery scams 

If you thought that you won’t be scammed twice in a row, you’re in for a surprise as scammers often target those that just got scammed, either by them or someone else.

Yes, scammers are very organized and they keep a loyalty list of sorts typically called a ‘sucker list.’ The list will contain all known details about you, including what scam you fell for and how much you’ve paid.  

They might call or message you to offer help in retrieving the money, items, or services that you were scammed out of. Even if you weren’t aware yet that someone scammed you, they will use the information that they already have on you to tell you about the scam. 

This makes them sound very credible, especially if they’re impersonating an authority figure, like a federal agent, lawyer, or similar.

Of course, to get the money or things back, you’ll have to pay an upfront fee that they may call “tax”, a “retainer fee,” “processing fee,” “administrative charge,” “shipment and handling charge,” or even a “donation.”

Instead of a fee, the scammers might ask you for your checking account number and other such details so they can deposit a “refund” into your account.

10. Unemployment scams

During the pandemic, millions of people were let go and they started to apply for unemployment benefits with their state unemployment offices. Scammers have, of course, targeted these folks in an attempt to get their personal information, money, or to apply for unemployment benefits instead of them and get the money in their own accounts.

They started fake websites and social media accounts. They’re also contacting people directly via email, messages, or phone calls. 

They could ask you for money to help you file for unemployment or to finish a supposedly incomplete application. Filing for unemployment is free and easy to do, so there’s no need to pay, for real or not, for this service. 

A phishing email or message usually contains a link directing you to their fake website where you have to fill in your personal information that the scammers will have access to. 

The scammers might also say that your debit card is deactivated and that you have to give them information to reactivate it so that you can get the unemployment benefit deposited. 

What is Chime doing about scammers? 

Chime is obviously trying to shut down fake accounts, websites, and social media profiles as fast as possible, but this is an uphill battle and new ones relentlessly continue to appear on a daily basis. You can help them by sending them an email or a DM through any of their verified social media channels.

Will you get your money back from Chime if you get scammed?

Banks and credit card companies will typically return the money to you if you’ve been scammed. The thing is, Chime isn’t a bank and you can find countless examples of Chime not returning money to scammed or hacked customers.

It seems that your best bet is to contact your local news crew because customers usually get refunded after the reporters contact the fintech company. Chime has also had more than 5,500 complaints raised against them at the Better Business Bureau.

In case of an unauthorized transaction, try contacting the merchant in question first as they can stop the transaction in many cases and save you the money.

Chime account closures 

This isn’t a scam, but an uncomfortable thing that can happen to Chime customers. It isn’t exclusive to Chime though, as some other digital banking customers are having similar issues.

To open an account with Chime, you don’t need much. It’s very easy to open, and the whole process only takes a couple of minutes. If it’s easy for you to open an account, it’s also easy for bad people to open one. 

Chime doesn’t check peoples’ credit scores or do any background checks. Once they finally started cracking down on scammers, many innocent people got hurt as well, having their accounts closed or blocked and money being held up for investigation.   

All this was happening at the worst time possible, mind you, at the height of the pandemic and the roll-out of stimulus checks. Your account could be closed for months, along with your money in it. 

And, because this is such an uncomfortable situation to be put in, there are some measures you can take to prevent it from happening. 

Can you prevent Chime from closing your account?

The good news is that you can prevent your Chime account from being closed by the company. It’s not worth the hassle of having your money blocked in the account without the ability to use it or even withdraw it because the company thinks it’s fraudulent.

Here’s how you can reduce the risk of having your Chime account closed.

Don’t use Chime for your business or commercial transactions. 

Their terms clearly state that you shouldn’t use the account “for any non-personal, commercial purpose”. By conducting freelance or business transactions, the company can immediately close your account.    

Instead, open a small business account with one of the growing number of digital banks that offer it or are even exclusively focusing on it. 

Report any suspicious activity

This is a no-brainer. If you notice an unfamiliar transaction or other account activity that either you (or your partner) haven’t authorized, report to Chime immediately or else you could be responsible for it and your money could be gone. Plus, they could suspend your account for fraudulent activity.

Know your eligibility

If you’re applying for government benefits or grants, research if you are eligible. Don’t just blindly make claims left and right as this could be considered fraud and Chime could close your account. Stimulus funds and unemployment insurance are the most popular ones for sure.

What to do if you have fallen for a Chime scam?

In the unlucky event that you’ve fallen for a Chime scam, you should immediately change your Chime password, turn off card transactions and report the incident to the Chime support, the merchant (if you see an unauthorized transaction), the police, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Chime customer support

Chime customer service is available 24/7 and can be reached in the following ways: 

  • By using the chat feature in the top right corner of the home screen in the Chime app
  • By sending an email to support@chime.com 
  • Or via phone at +1 (844) 244-6363 

How to protect yourself from Chime scams?

Never share your personal information or passwords over text, email, or phone with people claiming to be Chime customer service members or representatives and other strangers.

Make sure to enable push notifications as they should inform you of transactions and other changes to your Chime account. 

You should also use common sense and listen to your gut feeling when it’s telling you that something’s off. Don’t be pressured into urgent actions. Stop and think. Google the things and phrases that they’re telling or writing you.  

We hope this read was interesting and enlightening and if it helps just one person, that will be awesome. 

Recommends

As a Current mobile banking app affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Recommends

As a Current mobile banking app affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.